Vale of Darkness

Teaser: The dreams at night are bad enough. But when Merry's nightmares begin to seep into his everyday existence, he decides to take action. After an unlikely guide leads him into a world of shadows, he is forced to face the wonder and the terror that have been waiting for him all of his life. 

Vital Stats: Novella, in-progress

Most Important People: Merry Malvern, Kathy Lewis, Clarissa Malvern

Snippet: Late the next morning I stumbled downstairs into the kitchen, rubbing at my bleary eyes. Clarissa was sitting primly at the table, eating eggs. Sunlight streaming through the window caught the golden glints in her fawn-brown hair, giving it a partial aureole as she glanced up at me. I smiled at her and sat down on the other side of the round table. She shoved a warm plate of eggs at me and asked, wiping her mouth, whether I had slept well.

That all depends on your definition of “well”.

I nodded but she must have sensed my hesitation, because she grimaced and laid down her fork. “Merry, did you dream?”

My breakfast tasted suddenly bitter. “Yes, I dreamed. I dream almost every night, and I forget them the moment I wake up.”

“But this one you did not forget, I think.”

She looked so prettily petulant, so earnest with her arms folded; I knew I could keep nothing from her. “All right, then. All right! But you won’t like to hear it.”

“Oh. So it was one of the frightfuls.”

“That, and it was one of the close-to-homes. Mum and Dad.”

Clarissa went white then. Not all-out white as if the blood had been drained from her face, but an ashy pale that made me think she was ready to faint from fear. There was nothing in the room that she could see to frighten her; it couldn’t have been what I had said. I had dreamed of my parents before and I had thought, often, of their recent death. Both of us had.